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Why You Should Ask Strangers Personal Questions

Posted by on Feb 27, 2015 in Advice, Contact, Definitions of "Networking", Eye Contact, Focus and attention, Networking, Questions, Storytelling | 3 comments

Why You Should Ask Strangers Personal Questions

Something very weird happened on Tuesday night.

Or, if not weird, then… alchemical might be the word. I had actually fully intended to write a blog about something else – some straight up networking advice (like I gave you here and here). But I’m still reeling from that evening and feel like I have to tell you about it.

It started innocently enough…

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Networking: When It’s OK to Lie

Posted by on Feb 18, 2015 in Advice, Conferences, Confidence, Contact, Definitions of "Networking", Emails, Eye Contact, Networking, Preparation, Questions | 4 comments

Networking: When It’s OK to Lie

I know the ten commandments suggest not to, but sometimes, thou SHALT lie:

If you’re on a night out, your friend asks whether her hair looks weird – and it does, and there’s nothing she can do about it right now, tell her no. If your brother was right in the middle of an important interview and accidentally let out a massive (and noisy) fart, then he asks you – mortified – if you think the interviewers laughed at him after he left, say, “They probably don’t even remember”.

If you’ve been paying attention, you’ll know that I’m usually all about not lying – not being a fake, schmoozy, gross caricature of everything people hate about networking.

But sometimes: you need to. Here are those times:

(1) When extracting yourself from…

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ASK (YES YES) MARSH: Networking and Flirting – Where’s The Line?

Posted by on Feb 11, 2015 in Advice, Confidence, Definitions of "Networking", Eye Contact, Focus and attention, Networking, Shyness | 2 comments

ASK (YES YES) MARSH: Networking and Flirting – Where’s The Line?

I bloody love reading advice columns.

When I worked in radio, I used to make all my interns tear out the “Dear Deidre”s from the back of the tabloids, so I could read them on the train home. The only German I know is from translating Teen Mag problem pages when I was a teenager (“Ich schwärme für ihn! Er ist sehr gutaussehend und frech!”*).

heart lady

And, as a coach, it’s in my nature to LOVE giving my suggestions for solving other people’s problems. As one ex- described me, I’m “violently helpful”.

So: I am THRILLED to announce a new sporadic feature:

ASK (YES YES) MARSH

And today: networking – and flirting.

Anonymous Gentleman writes:

I was wondering…

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How To Deal With Boring Conversations

Posted by on Jan 28, 2015 in Confidence, Eye Contact, Focus and attention, Networking, Questions, Shyness | 18 comments

How To Deal With Boring Conversations

I grabbed the stranger by her shoulders and she stopped talking, mid-sentence – shocked.

“Dude,” I lowered my voice, and looked straight in her eyes. “What. Makes you think. That I care this much about you? You called this meeting. I have a lot to do today. I don’t even want to be here. STOP. TALKING. ONLY. ABOUT. YOURSELF. It is SO. BORING.”

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The Terrifying Reason I Had To Leave My Apartment

Posted by on Jan 13, 2015 in Confidence, Funny, Storytelling | 15 comments

The Terrifying Reason I Had To Leave My Apartment

This was one of the most frightening moments of my life.

I’d like to say it was formative, but I’m not sure how much I learned from it, except for “Take Your Friends Seriously When They Warn You Of Danger”.

So many blogs on YesYesMarsha.com are messages wrapped in stories – the one with the guy who seduced every lady he looked at; the one where I taught myself to stop being shy and became confident; the one where I was a Zombie Nun Queer Slow Dancer.

And so much of networking is about telling a story – the story of What Do You Do; the stories you tell to Industry Friends that bond you together; the stories you hear when you’re asking the right questions.

I thought it was about time I just let you hear a straight up story for the sake of a story. No message, no lesson – just a gripping (true!) yarn, about the time I had to move out of my apartment so that I didn’t get killed…

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One hour’s free coaching

Posted by on Jan 7, 2015 in Conferences, Confidence, Contact, Conversation topics, Definitions of "Networking", Emails, Eye Contact, Famous People, Focus and attention, Follow-up, Funny, Networking, Preparation, Questions, Shyness | 7 comments

One hour’s free coaching

I bloody love talking about this stuff. The whole reason I got into networking coaching was because I was doing it for free my whole life:

It’s what I would corner people at parties for – “Oh, you’re trying to get a job? Here’s what you should be doing” “You’re in a band? Here’s how you can get noticed”

Because my landlord doesn’t accept Good Karma in lieu of rent (SO unreasonable), at some point, I had to stop doing all my coaching for free.

But sometimes, I still sneak some free in.

A perfect example? When I’m interviewed.

I recently spent a really fun hour taking to Jordan Harbinger for The Art of Charm podcast. Their tagline is “Where Ordinary Guys Become…

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Shy, Going To A Christmas Party and Feeling Nervous? TEN TIPS

Posted by on Dec 17, 2014 in Confidence, Conversation topics, Follow-up, Networking, Questions, Shyness | 6 comments

Shy, Going To A Christmas Party and Feeling Nervous? TEN TIPS

I GASPED AWAKE.

After three seconds of confused, soft stillness, everything caught up and my headache came crashing in.

Squinting at the clock – it was 11:30am – I tried to piece together what was going on.

Oh yes. The Christmas party.

I was 22 years old and very, very hungover. The night before…

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Why No One’s Paying Attention To You (and Why That’s a GOOD Thing)

Posted by on Dec 3, 2014 in General | 6 comments

Why No One’s Paying Attention To You (and Why That’s a GOOD Thing)

“We have to take our shoes off”

“Won’t we slip over?”

“It looks like you just have to. Oh, and you pay on the way out. I guess it’s so that people can turn up late”

It was Monday night, I was stone cold sober, and about to dance for a solid hour in a room full of people.

In the pitch black…

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What I Learned from being a Zombie Nun Designated Dancer at Queer Slow Dance

Posted by on Nov 5, 2014 in General | 6 comments

What I Learned from being a Zombie Nun Designated Dancer at Queer Slow Dance

I bit my lip, and hit “reply” to the text message.

‘That sounds exciting and scary’, I wrote. ‘Can I think about it and let you know?’

My friend Erin had just asked whether I would join her to be a Designated Dancer at Queer Slow Dance.

Queer Slow Dance is a regular night in Toronto (and Montreal) that pretty much does what it says on the tin. And my job as a Designated Dancer would be to spend two hours asking strangers to slow dance with me, gently easing the wallflowers from their seats and helping them to feel included.

It sounded terrifying.

Partly because of the concept. Slow dancing isn’t really a thing we DO in the UK. My only experience was once, at my summer camp, when a Much Older Boy asked me if I’d slow dance with him. I remember finding it awkward and a bit too grown up to be comfortable.
But I was most scared of having to walk up to strangers and ask them to dance.

What if they say no?

What if EVERYONE says no?…

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Exactly What to Say When You Walk Up To A Stranger at an Event

Posted by on Sep 23, 2014 in Conferences, Confidence, Contact, Conversation topics, Definitions of "Networking", Eye Contact, Networking, Preparation, Shyness | 4 comments

Exactly What to Say When You Walk Up To A Stranger at an Event

Within my career to date, it was the bravest move I’d ever made. Or maybe just the scariest.
Part of me couldn’t believe I was about to say this – to a TOTAL stranger. Someone I’d never spoken to before.

And at one of these events!
The kind I knew I should be at, but was terrified of. I’d only gone because my buddy Steve had said he would chum me. Then he got held up at work, but I hadn’t discovered this until I was outside the door. And I figured…well, I’m here. And I really need to meet some of these people.

After what felt like HOURS (but was more likely five minutes), I made the decision to do it. I spotted my target… walked up. And SAID IT…

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